Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Company We Keep

I had an excellent mother. She was loving, kind and wise. As a single mom, she provided my every need often at the expense of her own personal desires. In exchange for her care I was expected to live by her rules. Thank God! Otherwise who knows what I might have dreamed up?

One of her most insistent requirements was constant monitoring of my associates. At the time I didn’t realize her excessive interest in my friends was a protective device. She would subtly direct me away from influences which she saw as destructive. As a high school teacher in a small town she had the pulse of the community in current terms and was probably more aware than the average.

In the fifty-eight years since I left her care I have come to appreciate her wisdom. It is not that I blame my occasional errancy on others but I do see them as a contributing factor. It is also an indicator for me in evaluating the associations of people in their choices. In our current hour we are asked to make decisions on prospective national leaders. As an obvious result the angel on my shoulder reminds me to observe the “company they keep.” Let’s take a look at some of them.

Bill Ayers – During the height of the Viet Nam War, this guy was an admitted leader of the terrorist group, Weatherman. A splinter of the Students for a Democratic Society (Communist driven) the Weatherman espoused violence in reaction to the war. Ayers summed up the ideology saying, “Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home. Kill your parents.”

In his book Fugitive Days, Ayers claims he “participated in bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, of the Capitol building in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972.” Ayers later said (in 2001) about the thirty bombings the Weatherman were responsible for, “I feel we didn’t do enough.” When reflecting about the use of bombs in the future he wrote, “I can’t imagine entirely dismissing the possibility.”

In a botched bomb making session in 1970, the device prematurely exploded and killed three Weathermen including his girlfriend. Its target was a dance for soldiers and their dates at Fort Dix, New Jersey which would have killed a huge number. From then on, he was wanted by the FBI. Because the Feds conducted an improper surveillance, the charges were subsequently dropped.

We are then left with this infamous quote from the book Destructive Generation: “Guilty as sin, free as a bird, America is a great country.” The outcome was not to prosecute but rather reward. Today he is a Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois, has written several books on parenting and education, and sits as director for the Woods Fund of Chicago. After the ill-fated bombing he married another Weatherman.

Bernadine Dohrn – As the wife of Bill Ayers, we can safely give her complicity in almost all of the above. She falsely claimed, “We rejected terrorism. We were careful not to hurt anybody.” In addition we can add her remarks concerning the infamous Sharon Tate murders in their Benedict Canyon mansion in 1969 at the hands of Charles Manson and others. “Dig it! First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them. They even shoved a fork in the victim’s stomach! Wild!” She later claimed the remark was a joke.

After nearly a decade on the run as wanted fugitives, both Dohrn and Ayers surrendered in 1980. Although the original charges had been dropped, Dohrn served probation for bail jumping and aggravated battery. Later she served less than a year in jail for refusing to testify at the trial of Weatherman Susan Rosenberg for armed robbery. There continues to be an ongoing investigation by law-enforcement in the killing of a policeman in San Francisco in a bombing in which Dohrn is a suspect.

The price for all this is a BA from the University of Chicago in political science and a JD from Chicago school of Law. She is now a professor of law at Northwestern University and Director of the Legal Clinic’s Children and Family Justice. She also serves on boards and committees of the American Bar Association and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Jeremiah Wright – If your television is broken, your newspaper service interrupted, you don’t own a computer and you need to get the radio in your car repaired, you have probably not heard the outrageous remarks of “pastor” Jeremiah Wright. Otherwise I must conclude you are not paying attention or just plain don’t care

He is on a current campaign to explain some of the assertions he has made both from the pulpit of Trinity United Church of Christ and to figures in the media. To remind you of his speeches, here are few to ponder:

“We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye.”

“The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.” (2003)

“Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run! We [in the U.S.] believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God.” (Sermon)

“In the 21st century, white America got a wake-up call after 9/11/01. White America and the western world came to realize that people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just ‘disappeared’ as the Great White West kept on its merry way of ignoring black concerns.” (Magazine article)

“We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost.” (Sep 2001)

These quotes, coupled with the allegation that America funded and discovered a distribution system for AIDS in Africa reveal the deep seated hatred and prejudice of this man. Where is he now? He has officially retired from Trinity and settled down in his $1 million dollar mansion (elders eat your heart out) and is making a constant stream of appearances with the talking heads to defend his outrageous comments.

Tony Rezko – In the convoluted money circles common in Chicago politics, Rezko is known as the “fixer..” Currently under indictment on corruption charges, he was accused in grand jury findings of bribes, kick backs and nebulous financial dealings involving millions of dollars. The only public figure mentioned in the indictment is Illinois governor Blagojevitch. The trail is ongoing and like any other charge, Rezko is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

So what do all these people have in common? Each has been identified as a friend of the same political candidate for president – Barack Hussein Obama. Ayers and Dohrn have held fundraisers for and share seats on various community boards. Wright claims the candidate as a twenty-year member of Trinity, married the couple, and served as the inspiration for Obama’s book. In addition to holding a post on the candidate’s election team, he is claimed as mentor and advisor. Rezko hired Obama around ’92 and was invaluable in his bids for both the Illinois legislative post as well as his successful US Senate bid. All of these ties are self-admitted and Obama has shown no inclination to distance himself from any of them.

These people have done well for themselves and the association speaks to me more regarding the character of the candidate than the individuals mentioned. Their failings are obvious. The memory of my mom does make me question the capacity of any man who cultivates such companions. The editor of the blog has warned me that no one really cares. She may be right but I am altruistic enough to believe that some of our readers do.

This type of camaraderie is not the exclusive property of Obama. Tomorrow we shall examine some of the close ties of another candidate. In the meantime, the republic could certainly use a mention in your daily prayers.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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